A total of 55 Indian films were submitted for the Oscars between 1957 and 2022. Out of the total movies, 34 were Hindi films and the rest were in other languages.
While only 3 Hindi films– Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay (1988), and Lagaan (2001) – could make it to the nomination list, none from 10 Tamil, 3 Malayalam, 2 each in Bengali and Gujarati, 1 each in Assamese and Telugu made it to the nomination race.
Though SS Rajamouli helmed RRR didn’t get a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film Category, bagging the nomination in the Best Original Song category for 'Naatu Naatu' is historic.
RRR's Tryst With Oscar
The period epic film’s way to glory was revisited with the scenes of nostalgia in America when the makers decided to rerelease it.
Even though it was available on Netflix, the theatres in 14 American states witnessed rare euphoric scenes.
While Indian cinema has been a hit among ethnic Indian communities dwelling abroad, Jr NTR and Ram Charan starrer RRR transcended the language barrier to enthrall American moviegoers .
Indian Cinemas and Hollywood
The Rendezvous of Hollywood with Bollywood dates back to 2008, when foot tapping number ‘Jimmy Jimmy..’ of the 1982 cult film Disco Dancer starring Mithun and composed by Bappi Lahiri featured in the Hollywood comedy ‘You Don’t Mess With Zohan’ starring lead comic actor Adam Sandler.
The eternal charm of Indian beats throbbing the globe is evident from how the 1982 Hindi chartbuster featured in Hollywood film even after over two and half decades.
Disco Dancer and Mithun Chakraborty is a cult figure in Russia even today.
Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev saying ‘My daughter only knows Mithun Chakraborty’ during his New Delhi Visit in 1985, when the then PM Rajiv Gandhi introduced him to Amitabh Bachchan as India’s biggest superstar, narrates the magic of Indian beats and star power among non-Indian races.
Jimmy Jimmy, Natu Natu on Same Page
Just as the 1982 Disco Dancer craze had hit the Russian nationals and the media with the film seeing a sale of 120 million tickets and even invited to feature in Moscow Film Festival, the Naatu Naatu fame RRR wowed the Americans and its elites in 2022.
The sale of 932 tickets in 98 seconds when the film RRR was re-released at Beyonce Fest in Los Angeles, drawing a repartee from Jr NTR “Faster Than Maggie”, portrayed the craze in America.
Hollywood biggies like Scott Derrickson, Jessica Chastain, C Robert Cargill, James Gunn, Russo Brothers went gaga over the film.
Recently, James Cameron, the Avatar helmer, also expressed his love for RRR and told Rajamouli that if he ever thinks of making a movie in Hollywood, he should let him know.
RRR Rendezvous With the US media
“How the Indian Action Spectacular ‘RRR’ Became a Smash in America,” reads the headline in column Front Row in leading daily The New York Times.
“‘RRR’ Is the Best — and Most Revolutionary — Blockbuster of 2022” Captioned the popular monthly, The Rolling Stone.
US Media Turned RRR Votary!
Leading US Magazines USA Today and Variety pitched for Jr NTR and RRR. While USA Today’s Best Actor list had put Jr NTR at No 1 in top 10 contenders for best actor category, Variety implored Oscar Nomination committee to pick RRR for best film to set the Oscar Stage on fire with Naatu Naatu.
Rajamouli: Baahubali to RRR
After Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, Ace helmer SS Rajamouli has driven the world crazy with RRR.
Be it the melodrama of a child kidnapping, the colonial cruelty, a cop sporting an old-timey moustache single-handedly beating an angry mob to catch a culprit, a man facing an angry tiger or jumping out of a truck with several wild animals, Rajamouli thrilled the Americans with his works.
The mainstream US media had gone on record saying “Audience will not get bored even for a nanosecond.”
Who had The Edge?
Both the lead actors of RRR, Jr NTR and Ram Charan received praises for their power-packed performances.
However, the ‘Young Tiger’ outshined the ‘Mega Power Star’ as USA ‘filmi’ elite projected him as a possible contender for an Oscar nomination under the ‘Best Actor Male’ category.
Jr NTR’s portrayal of Komaram Bheem, a warrior from the Gond tribe, and his lightning performance, especially the action scenes of leading an army of wild animals, tiger fight, juggling motorcycle, and his friendship, wowed the Hollywood elites and American film critics alike.
Notwithstanding the euphoria and nostalgia, RRR, Jr NTR, Ram Charan, and Rajamouli despite riding on a wave of popularity in the west, missed out in the race for Best Film and Best Actor category.
Picture abhi baaki hai...
Indian movie fanatics had high hopes from the movie and the Oscar nomination for the current year. However, many must have gotten disheartened after RRR, Jr NTR, and Rajamouli were left behind in the race.
But, it can be assumed that the ‘rise’ moment of Indian cinema has brightened the global horizon as the Indian filmmakers have started drawing the attention of the global audience. With more such alluring projects, Indian films may soon grab the prestigious Academy awards.
And, it reminds Shah Rukh Khan ’s one of the famous dialogue: "Agar end main sab kuch theek na ho toh woh the end nahi hai doston, picture abhi baaki hai mere dost..."